Supporting yourself through college *or really at any time in your life* isn’t easy. So, I’m here to drop some tips on what I have done. Through these actions, I managed to save a little more than $9,000.00 while working at a job that paid just a little over minimum wage.
- Work part-time. Just do it! The college experience is great, but you also need to focus on being financially responsible. Try to find a job that is flexible and/or one that will compliment your resume. Are you wanting to work somewhere that doesn’t have currently have open applications? Stop in and physically drop off a resume. *Are you required to find an internship? Talk to your adviser, they may be able to help you find one that is paid.*
- BIOLIFE. Okay, I have to admit that donating plasma doesn’t give you the best feeling in the world. I always viewed it as basically selling myself for money. However, when those coupons come out to make extra dough, it really adds up. Plus, you are donating your plasma towards research.
- Checking and Savings Account. Get yourself in the routine of taking a certain amount out of your checking account and putting it into your savings account. I have an automatic withdraw that takes place the day after payday.
- Buy USED. For two years, I didn’t buy any new clothing, furniture, or appliances unless it was used or was on sale. If something was over $7.00, it was a no go. Salvation Army, eBay, and Goodwill are all excellent places to check out. Ebay is great to use when looking for specific items. Tip: Goodwill usually has Ann Taylor clothing. The company regularly asks their buyers to donate their gently worn clothing to Goodwill, and Ann Taylor will even send a shipping box to your home so that you can fill it up and then ship it off to Goodwill.
- COUPONS. I use the Ibotta app and Honey.com to search for coupons. These are both great tools. Otherwise, a quick Google search usually comes up with some sort of coupon that can be applied to things that I regularly buy. If you shop at Hy-vee, you can load coupons on your fuel saver card. Here’s a link to download the Ibotta app. https://ibotta.com/r/klwfnkq
Here’s a link to join Honey.com: joinhoney.com/ref/lbxgcn
- Keep a Spending Summary. Keep a log of what you’re spending and with what method of payment. You can easily use notebook paper or create/find a template online. If you want something more official, Staples has an Erin Condren Budget Book for around $11.
- GoFundMe. Your family and friends may not always be able to help you, but having a GoFundMe set up can allow them to give you a donation when they are in a place to do so.
- Credit Cards. An easy way to start building your credit. Careful. Do not spend more than you need to. CC’s can be a nice back up to purchase things like gas for your car. Enrolling in auto-pay is an excellent way to never miss a payment. I would recommend paying the statement balance rather than just the minimum amount.
- Eat at Home. Don’t dine out. Just don’t do it. If you do want to dine out, convince someone to take you out. Maybe you can do something nice for them in return? Or simply just cut back on how often you dine out.
- Scholarships. APPLY, APPLY, APPLY. If you’re not sure how to get started, contact your advisor or counselor. Scholarships really helped me in times of need! Your university may have other programs that may assist you as well. I highly recommend looking into the TRIO program.
- Need help? Ask for it. You never know who might be able to help you. In addition, check around your community for places that may offer rent and utility assistance.
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